EXCERPT: Laura’s Diary
Since leaving him I’ve found myself doing all kinds of things I wouldn’t normally do. Coming here, for a start. I didn’t even think twice about the drive – all those hours on the M4 with Dani in the back, the rain sheeting down when we got to the West Country, the tangle of lanes and bad signposts at the end.
But we made it.
ABOUT THIS BOOK: Nobody talks about my mother. Absolutely nobody. I have no idea what she was like. I’d always thought they kept quiet about her because they were sad. But what if it was because they were guilty?
I watch them at the school gates, all the mothers with their daughters. I see the hugs and all those thoughtful little adjustments to scarves and ponytails. How their love seems to overflow, they have so much of it to give.
And then I walk home to my aunt’s cold house, where there are a hundred rules for me to follow and only a single photograph of my mother to look at.
She is never spoken about in this house. They tell me that it will be easier if I don’t think about her.
It is strange though, isn’t it? That I know nothing about my own mother?
But they don’t know about the diary I’ve found up in the loft. Maybe they even forgot it was there. It doesn’t matter anymore if they won’t tell me anything. Because within these pages is what I’ve waited fourteen years to find out. And maybe some things I wish I could forget.
All I wanted was to bring our family closer together, but could what I find tear us apart instead?
MY THOUGHTS: I wanted to like this book a whole lot more than I did….. it starts off well with an entry from Laura’s diary revealing that she has left her husband Jon, taking their 4 year old daughter, Dani. She hints at something terrible that has happened that she cannot forgive, and that Jon is also unable to forgive himself.
There are beautiful descriptions of the Cornish coast and I felt that I was settling in for a grand read. Fast forward ten years and Dani is fourteen and living with her aunt Carrie and resenting it. The story is then told over two timelines, past and present, without a great deal being revealed. A lot is intimated, assumptions are made, but not a lot actually happens until Dani finds her mother’s diary.
I felt that the revelation in the diary was anticlimactic and disappointing, although it certainly upset Dani. By this point I had largely lost interest and only kept reading because I thought that there had to be more to this story. And there was. But certainly not what I was expecting and not enough to redeem the book in my eyes. I felt that the author was trying to hide too much initially which didn’t need to be hidden, and which would have given the story some backbone and focus.
This felt like an inordinately long read. There was a lot of ‘filler’ and not much meat. It certainly wasn’t a ‘heartbreaking’ read, and nor did I become particularly emotional about it. For me, this was a mediocre read at best, the only redeeming feature being the wonderful descriptions of the Cornish countryside.
THE AUTHOR: Ali decided she wanted to be a writer early on and wrote her first novel when she was at primary school. She did an English degree and spent her early twenties working in various jobs in journalism, including as a reporter for the showbusiness newspaper The Stage. She started writing fiction in earnest after getting married, moving out of London to the Oxfordshire market town of Abingdon and starting a family. She has two children, a daughter and a son who is autistic and was diagnosed when he was four years old.
Ali is fascinated by families, their myths and secrets, and the forces that hold them together, split them up and (sometimes) bring them back together again. She always travels with tissues and a book and has been known to cry over a good story, but is also a big fan of the hopeful ending.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of My Mother’s Choice by Ali Mercer for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com
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